Do What You Love. Love What You Do.

Reflections

Life is an opportunity to go on a journey and discover what one’s purpose is. Life provides many challenges and trials such as illness, adversity and loss, but there is much joy in the world as well. I believe that movement and dance are vehicles that help us discover and uncover our true selves.

Being a student has been a true privilege. After spending years working multiple jobs struggling just to make ends meet, dedicating my life to learning and studying has felt like a luxury. My freshman year was a struggle. I stepped outside of myself and stretched my mind. I used to think that technology, math, and science were my weaknesses because I did not have much practice and experience. That year I worked full time and studied math and computer programming. Two of the biggest challenges that I encountered were first, sitting still and secondly, staying focused while sitting still.

Fall quarter of my sophomore year was even more frustrating and discouraging. I took computer science foundations and felt so far out of my league. The greatest challenge was not in the skills itself, but in feeling like I did not belong there. I had an incessant fear of being too far behind so much that my anxiety got the best of me. I would sit in class and sweat and my stress made it impossible for me to learn. I spent the entire quarter in a state of anxiety which drove me to illness. On the weekends I enrolled in Afro-Brazilian Dance. I knew that it would be a good opportunity for me to move my body and dance.

I believe that taking Janelle’s Afro-Brazilian dance class was the best decision that I made that quarter. Her class gave me a reason to look forward to going to school. I think it was the only thing that kept me excited about school that quarter. I could feel my body becoming more coordinated and my mind and heart grew in self-acceptance. On the second to last class of that quarter I felt a definite desire to begin studying more dance and movement. Movement helped me to feel joyful, alive, and free.

Continuing the computer science program was an option, but I began looking into other possibilities for Winter Quarter. I felt a spark when I came across a program called: “Dancing Molecules Dancing Bodies” which covered anatomy & physiology, biology, chemistry, and dance. I was relieved when I read that no experience was necessary. I took a leap of faith and registered for that program along with another quarter of Afro-Brazilian Dance.

Taking a second quarter of Afro-Brazilian Dance has given me an opportunity to cultivate the basic skills that I started learning. I have become even more aware of myself and more in tune with my body. In the fall quarter I felt more pain in my feet and hips. This time around I was able to notice even more subtle nuances like sensing places in my spine that I could not sense before. We had a movement lesson that required us to put a lot of pressure on our toes. I know that I would have struggled with this in the last quarter, but this time around I did not struggle with the exercise.

A theme that I noticed throughout this quarter is that I felt more comfortable and confident with the movements and the rhythm, but I felt less comfortable with my body. I currently weigh more than I ever have. My dad has been ill and I have used food to cope. Additionally, I have been more focused academically, but my workouts were close to non-existent. It was often painful for me to look in the mirror and be around people who appeared to be thinner and healthier. At the same time, I am thankful for the 2 dance workshops that we had every week and Afro-Brazilian dance on Saturday. These classes have infused exercise into my life and I know that they helped me maintain some activity.

A few weeks ago I realized how much I enjoy studying anatomy, dance, and movement. So much that I am considering switching my major to physical therapy or some area of study that involves movement and physical activity. I believe that dance has been pivotal in helping me discover my true self and I hope to continue dancing for the rest of my life.

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16 thoughts on “Do What You Love. Love What You Do.

  1. I believe dance was meant for this reason only. When ever I feel dejected I just lock my doors, increase the volume of my stereo and just start dancing. Nothing is more relaxing than it.

  2. We do what we must to survive certain periods in our lives. We shouldn’t regret, but just keep going forward and doing the things we believe are right! It is so difficult to not compare ourselves with others. But you are you, nobody lives your life the way you do. You have your struggles, that others might not have. Don’t be harsh on yourself, but love yourself, by trying to make more healthier choices in our food when we go out. I’m still on a diet, but going to a restaurant with friends makes it very difficult. I was proud of myself for not drinking soda or alcohol yesterday. I kept drinking water and tea. But I did reward myself with a huge chocolate dessert and I don’t regret it one bit.
    Also, love yourself by continuing to dance. Because at the end of the day, that’s what gives you strength and energy to endure it all…
    Have a lovely week Alana!! xoxo Sarah

    1. Hi Sarah!
      Thank you for reminding me to move forward rather than comparing myself to others. We are all on our own journeys with different challenges to deal with and overcome.
      Great job on sticking with your diet and refraining from soda and alcohol. It takes discipline, but your results and the way that you feel are worth-it! You are worth-it!!! I hope you will have a lovely week too, Sarah!!! Thanks again!

      ❤ Alana Xoxoxo

  3. I love this, I wish more of the population would move their bodies. I believe that illness begins with stagnant energy and the energy in your body definitely becomes stagnant when you don’t move. Good for you on doing what you love and thank you so much for sharing with us.

    1. Hi Shannon!
      Thank you. I agree. I always feel better about myself and about life when I am actively moving. It is easy to get stuck and stagnant when we are standing still, but sometimes it is challenging to find the time and energy to move. When we move we have more energy. I guess it all goes hand in had. Thanks for visiting me! I hope you will have a great rest of your week!!!

      ❤ Alana Xoxoxo

  4. Omg! I just read the part about you thinking about changing your major to PT! So cool! (no matter what you decide I think you will be successful if you really want it & work at it) but that is so exciting! A lot of PT (I found recently) is also about interacting & working with people so you would be great at that :):)

    1. Hi Jess!
      I am excited about possibly studying PT. I am going to see if I can make it through the chemistry and sciences. Thank you so much for your encouragement! It means a lot to me coming from you!!! How long have you been on the PT track?!

      ❤ Alana Xoxoxo

      1. Hey Alana!!
        I am excited for you too :)) I have been taking prereqs for PT for 2 semesters now. I have a couple more to go. As far as chem & the hard science classes, I would try to space them out as much as you can.. try not to take chem 2 & phys 2 in the same semester lol. But if you end up having to take them together, just know that it will be different than any other semester- – you will want to know exactly where you will be able to study bc you will be doing a lot of practice problems outside of class. But it’s all doable! There are even tutorials on youtube and Khan academy to help! I know you can do it if that’s what you end up deciding ;)) ❤

      2. Hi Jess!
        Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration! You are amazing for doing chem 2 & phys 2 in the same semester! I am at the beginning stages of prereqs and it feels so much better than computer science classes. I really enjoyed my anatomy and physiology class and am actually looking forward to spring quarter!
        How have you been? Thanks again for always being so uplifting and offering me great advice!!! Have a Great week!!!

        ❤ Alana Xoxoxo

      3. Anytime, Alana! I always love talking with you :)) you are also very positive, which is just the kind of person I love to be around! I am glad you’re looking forward to the next semester & not dreading it lol. I have been pretty good — taking anatomy & phys 2 and medical terminology this semester. I also am doing volunteer hours and will apply to PT schools this summer! A little daunting, but def worth it. Hope you have a great week too 💕

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